Educational Technology News - All Years

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  • The MIT Alumni Class Funds provide seed money to faculty to initiate innovative educational projects that encourage creative curriculum changes and enhance teaching and learning. Prof. Beth Coleman of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies and OEIT's Violeta Ivanova PhD'98 are pleased to be among the recipients of the 2008-2009 Alumni Funds for their proposal to develop a new undergraduate subject, which will focus on analysis and application in communication across media that span written language to all forms of visualization and visual culture.

  • Molly Ruggles worked with the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) staff to facilitate the sponsorship of OpenLabWare's student director, Jeremy Flores. A rising junior in Course 6, Jeremy is the new director of OLW and will be working in the OEIT offices this summer. OLW is an exciting project focused on making the process and results of MIT research experiments available to educators and the general public.

  • 3.021 Introduction to Modeling and Simulation, has its challenges. There is not enough time during the course, for example, to train students in the use of LINUX, SGE, and the simulation tool PWscf, a tool that the students would need to know in order to do actual simulations in class. OEIT has provided the 3.021 instructor, Dr. Timo Thonhauser, with a tool that allows students to do simulations and thus overcome these barriers.

    Here’s what Dr. Thonhauser said in a recent email: Chuck Shubert and Justin Riley in OEIT “provided me with a tool that allows students to do simulations through a simple web-browser---from their office, in class, or from home. Now the students can focus on exactly what they should be focusing on: modeling and simulation, without having to worry about the underlying complexity of the computer aspects.”

  • StarHPC provides a platform for students at MIT to learn how to program in parallel environments.  During this year's Independent Activities Period (IAP) StarHPC had its first use in the classroom in Dr. Constantinos Evangelinos' IAP 12.950: Parallel Programming for Multi-core Machines Using OpenMP and MPI course based out of the department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS).  Historically, this type of computationally intensive course required MIT to purchase computers and provide IS&T support. A year ago, OEIT estimated that MIT would need to spend $250,000 every three years to have a viable system for supporting computationally intensive teaching. This number does not include the cost for IS&T to support these computers and pay for the system administration, colocation space, the electricity to run them and the air conditioning to cool them. With StarHPC, MIT can provide the same functionality for under $25 per student per course by using commercial computational resources. With our current low use of intensive computational resources, this is a bargain.

  • Under the guidance of Professors Dava Newman and Jeff Hoffman, Daniel Sheehan of OEIT worked with graduate students Lasse Linqvist (Aero Astro), Joe Essenburg (Mechanical Engineering) and postdoctoral fellow James Waldie to produce a GIS interface to the Java based Path Planner software that was previously developed at MIT. This software calculates metabolic costs and travel time for astronauts' Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA) on the moon and on Mars.

  • StarBiogene is a web interface to a set of software tools from the Broad Institute for analyzing genomics data via the web. It enables the user to take part in the analysis of microarray gene expression data without the operational fog of installing, configuring, and loading datasets into the software. Entirely from the web interface, students can select how they want to visualize the data (microarray, heatmap, or clustering views) and also choose from a set of prepackaged datasets to be automatically loaded into the software. StarBiogene then delivers the visualizer along with the requested dataset and launches the software on the client's machine using Java Web Start (tm).

  • On September 7th about 400 students in MIT’s Introduction to Biology Course 7.012 were given a homework assignment on proteins. The homework problem set asked questions about the structure of a protein. To answer these questions the students used StarBiochem developed at MIT by a collaboration of MIT Biology Professor Graham Walker, MIT Physics Professor John Belcher, and the OEIT Software Tools for Academics and Researchers (STAR) developers.

  • Justin Riley, a DUE Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) developer, in collaboration with Dr. Megan Rokop, head of the Outreach Program for the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard took StarBiogene for a shakedown cruise with OEIT Director and Senior Associate Dean Vijay Kumar, the OEIT staff, and guests from DUE, the Department of Biology, and the Broad Institute on July 24, 2007.

  • The Spring 2007 IT Partners Conference featured a panel discussion on academic computing, chaired by Babi Mitra from OEIT. The panel focused on three aspects of academic computing at MIT: institutional support for the academic computing innovation cycle; enterprise-wide academic computing service and; academic computing coordination across the MIT Libraries, DUE and IS&T.

    Babi Mitra(OEIT), Phil Long(OEIT) and Katie Vale(OEIT) presented elements of OEIT’s strategy as well as how OEIT supports the innovation cycle from ‘experiment’ through ‘incubate’ through ‘transition’ to ‘service’, discussed the five programmatic areas that OEIT is focusing on --- Visualization & Simulation, Collaboration Tools, Cross Media Tools, Course and Learning Administration, and, Active Learning Environments, and shared vignettes from some of the programmatic areas including those on image management, STARbio and Second Life. The question to be addressed was as to how OEIT could provide
    the most benefit to MIT education?

    And how could it work best with IT Partners to do this?

  • CrossTalk, the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) seminar series on Educational Change where faculty, staff and students share strategies, solutions, and issues related to transformation in educational practice through the use of information technology, held its last session of the spring term May 22nd, 2007. More than 70 people gathered in the active learning environment of the TEAL 1 classroom to hear faculty share their experiences using and teaching with blogs and wikis in their courses at MIT. The session, moderated by Carter Snowden (OEIT), Sanjoy Mahajan (TLL) and Phillip Long (OEIT), explored how faculty are using these web 2.0 tools in their courses.